Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

MEPs back bioeconomy strategy

The European Parliament gave its support to Europe’s bioeconomy strategy on 2 July. The strategy addresses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into vital products. These include food for Europeans, feed for their livestock, bioenergy for their power networks, and a host of bio-based products such as medicines and biochemicals.

The strategy was launched in 2012 and has now received the Parliament’s backing in the shape of an own-initiative resolution.

Rapporteur Paolo Bartolozzi (Italy, Christian Democrats) introduced the debate on the strategy in Strasbourg on 2 July by underlining the bioeconomy’s huge potential to find solutions to the challenges currently facing Europe.

EU Research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was in Strasbourg for the debate, and outlined why she is supporting the bioeconomy: ‘Like Parliament, the Commission sees in the bioeconomy a convergence of opportunities and objectives: a smart use of our biological resources from land and seas; a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy; a reindustrialisation of Europe based on innovation and the latest scientific knowledge; food security for all; and the development of new jobs and new sources of economic growth, not least in rural and maritime regions. All these aspects are especially relevant in the context of the economic difficulties currently facing Europe.’

The Parliament’s Resolution underlines the urgency of taking action now to boost innovation and investment in new techniques and business models, and calls on each EU country to develop national and regional bioeconomy action plans.

This was echoed by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, who noted that while there is much that can be done at EU level, ‘the bioeconomy will only realise its full potential if actors at national and regional level understand the opportunities that this presents for them and put in place the appropriate policies, funding and governance mechanisms.’

The Resolution also gives support to the Commission’s proposal to create a panel of bioeconomy experts to help improve policy coherence, as well as the establishment of a Bioeconomy Observatory to gather data on the evolution of this fast-moving segment of the economy. .

At present, the EU bioeconomy sector has an annual turnover of €2 trillion and employs 22 million people. Its health and development therefore have significant economic, environmental and social impacts – both today and for future generations.

The full text of the Parliament's resolution is available here.